23 May 2017

If there is a non-Chinese who is the biggest contender to win the Women’s Singles title at the Liebherr 2017 World Championships, it's Japan's Miu Hirano. Last month, the 18 year old shocked the Chinese and the rest of the world by winning the Seamaster 2017 ITTF-Asian Championships.

In Düsseldorf, she is their biggest threat, a major contender to win the Women's Singles crown, she is the young lady on whom to keep an eye.

By Neha Aggarwal 

Miu Hirano was clearly at the top of China’s hit list for the Liebherr 2017 World Championships. There is no doubt that this young woman, the winner at the Seamaster 2016 Women’s World Cup in October last year, is the one whom the best of the best will have an eye on.

Why? Talk about form, and if you look at the recent results at the Seamaster 2016 Asian Championship in Wuxi, she was the one who pulled off the biggest upsets, one after the other. In a span of two days, she beat not one or two, but three top Chinese players. She beat Olympic, World Champion and current world no.1 Ding Ning, World no.3 Zhu Yuling and World no.5 Chen Meng.

She not only beat the Chinese, but she beat them on their home soil. She won the title, and ruptured the status quo.

Just take a moment to reflect on it.

When was the last time this happened?

She became the first Japanese and the youngest ever to win the Asian Championship after 20 years!

China’s National Coach, Kong Linghui had admitted, “We will definitely have to study Hirano’s strengths during our closed training for the Championships. Three consecutive victories against our top players has proven her capabilities.”

I am sure China assembled their best of sport sciences to solve the Hirano puzzle. But her team back in Japan, would have certainly trained her to bring in a new element, specially the strategies that will set her apart from the others.

Ranked no.8 in May 2017 and seeded eighth in the tournament, Hirano will most probably face either of the Chinese or Feng Tianwei in the quarter-finals (if matters progress according to the seeding) and that I believe will be one of the biggest hurdles for her to cross.

For Japan she is their biggest hope. Ai Fukuhara has gone. The young ones have taken over. Miu Hiaro is the highest ranked Japanese now.

But what is it for Hirano? She giving out a clear message.

She is fearless. That is an asset for her. Watch her play and you will know.

The lightening speed in her body, the strategies that she brilliantly executes and the command over the first three balls in the game (serve, receive and the third ball), is what makes her a class apart.

In Wuxi she had said, “Since I could win the title here at the Asian Championships, I hope to continue my good form and performance into the World Championships for the title in Düsseldorf,”

The message is clear. China, you game?

Liebherr 2017 World Championships Miu Hirano

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